By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The warm season is in full swing, and yes, some of us will be hiding in those well ventilated movie houses with the air conditioner jacked up and enjoying the summer blockbuster movies of yesteryears.
Assuming everyone is vaccinated, there’s no worry for an outbreak to happen but for the cautious, they’ll be wearing their face mask. As for what’s worth seeing again on the small screen (to rent) or we can expect with film festivals bringing that passion back, the following are my picks to beat the heat. Included are Amazon USA links to purchase these titles for home viewing, or one can wait for a local theatre to bring these favourites back again.
Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes 1 & 2
Released: August 1, 2014
If Starlord and his gang can’t destroy a sun, then I don’t think anyone else can–short of a Celestial. Although we don’t want that to happen (it’d cause the death of any nearby civilizations), we can dance along to this hilarious action packed adventure and origin story of the gang going up against Marvel Cinematic Universe’s baddie, Thanos. Well, not yet, but this work properly gives him that backstory to know why he is who he is. He can snuff out a star without a problem.
Music is going to be a bit of a theme on this list, as next up is…
Released: June 16, 1978
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as teens in love imagines the glory days, the 50s when romance was innocent. The movie popped into the theatres at the height of when the television show Happy Days was popular and the music is the word. Some kids may have that summer fling that can blossom to true love, but is it? People can dream. But to dowop the what dreams may come ideal makes this film a must to relive what many grandparents (or older parental units) may have gone through themselves.
Released: July 20, 2007
Admittedly, I have a soft spot for works Travolta appeared in, including this adaptation of the musical. He shows that even under heavy make-up and prosthetics, that he can still strut his stuff. The real hero is technically Tracy’s (played by Nikki Blonsky) who must fight against racism and stigma in the sweltering summer of 1960s Baltimore. The music is even more infectious, and you just have to dance along to it by the end!
Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black Pearl
Released: July 9, 2003
Sailing the seas isn’t safe in this film (or the next one), but for quintessential viewing (especially for fans of Disney products), this introduction to a franchise shows its possible to adapt a ride to a film, complete with an irrepressible antihero to boot! Like him or not, Johnny Depp is a character and when he completely tosses himself into the role, he’s a hoot to watch!
Released: June 30, 2004
Sam Raimi’s masterpiece is just that. He gave us a mad scientist whom we come to understand, a superhero going through the ropes of being an overnight sensation and a threat that can destroy the Earth! The concept is the epitome of every single comic book for the past few decades before the post-modern wave gave us brilliant writers who’ve upped the ante to delve into the psyche of why these heroes do what they do. Plus, with the trademark style Raimi is known for in his Evil Dead films, we have an everyman’s film to appreciate.
Released: July 3, 1996
No top ten list can be complete without mention of the celebrations that take place on the first week of July. That’s mostly in North America, but elsewhere, it’s hard not to see the star-power of Will Smith shine. Fresh off his television series, everyone knew this personality will go far, and he did! He blew up one huge alien ship. It’s no spoiler by now in how it’s done or just how big that mothership is.
Back to the Future (Trilogy)
Released: July 3, 1985
Who doesn’t want to go back in time with Michael J. Fox? Honestly, the entire trilogy must be watched to bolster that theme of young love, interfering with that romance and then fixing it so you’ll live to see tomorrow. The soundtrack made the first in the series even more dynamic because they were either rightfully selected or composed specifically for.
The attention on Marty, Doc Brown (and Jennifer) made up the basis for the first two films. Its focus on how to make Lorraine (Lea Thompson) happy made up for one layer of the narrative. The third film, in my opinion, diverged to a point where I say its standalone because the demand was huge to bring back Fox and Lloyd.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Released: July 3, 1991
James Cameron knows how to make action films and this sequel show what he can do with computer animation in film. Earlier attempts were lacklustre at best, and for him to be pioneer (especially concerning the T-1000) says a lot about how he earned my respect. He gave us a great film of contrasts. We see that in a spunky kid with a muscle bound guardian. From the T100 to the 1000 series, we learn thin is in and having a shrewd intelligence of a computer can help find hollow victories. That’s until the end where the only way to save the present is to destroy the future–utterly.
The Blues Brothers
Released: June 20, 1980
Anyone who loves Saturday Night Live during the 80s will know who these brothers are. They’re a fictional pairing (created by Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) who loves to sing the blues. On the small screen, there’s no story about who they are and why they do what they do, other than to sing covers of various songs already made famous by greats like Taj Mahal.
On the big screen, we get that origin story and why they’re notorious. They’re ne’er-do-wells. Thankfully, Jake got to see the light and wants to save the orphanage where they were raised. The crazy extended chase that results (they somehow manage to get the ire of a local cult and the law) while making stops to sing their best tunes makes for a must watch for the season.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Released: June 12, 1981
Different people will define the pulps according to what they like about them. For myself, it’s about the quest and high-stakes adventures that go on to which this franchise successfully kept the action going.
Honestly, the idea to pay tribute to the science fiction B-movies in the last film, Kingdom of Crystal Skull, was a terrible one and it should have stuck to lost worlds, forgotten artifacts and the Nazis. Well, we have to deal with the many loves of Indiana Jones too, and the television series did a terrific job on that. But to know how it all started defines my top #1 pick.
Sorry Star Wars, but you’ve lost me when The Mouse took over and never released A New Hope, unedited on bluray or 4K.